Khairy: Vaccine Inequity One of The Biggest Moral Failings in Collective Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25): Malaysia has called on vaccine inequity to be addressed immediately with more equitable distribution dose delivery swapping, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

From the country’s point of view, Khairy said vaccine and equity have been one of the greatest failures in humanity’s collective response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When the world was told that vaccine[s] would be available, there was great hope for global solidarity with the establishment of the COVAX [Covid-19 vaccine global access] facility. Yet today, its delivery has been far short of what was planned. It has been in large part a great disappointment, with bilateral deals taking precedents over international collaboration and global solidarity.

“Malaysia calls on this inequity to be addressed immediately with more equitable distribution dose delivery swapping, in which Malaysia is willing to participate, and (for) technology transfer and investment to manufacture vaccines in many more sites around the world.

“We hope this inequity will not repeat itself with the latest antiviral treatments that are being developed and Covid vaccines for children,” said the minister at the World Health Organization (WHO) 72nd regional committee meeting for the Western Pacific Region.

Khairy noted that the country also suggests WHO moves towards a new equitable plan of distribution for antivirals and Covid-19 vaccines for children.

“We are reminded of what Einstein said about trying the same thing again and expecting a different result. We would like to support the call by the WHO DG [director-general] for an international agreement on pandemic response. But this agreement must not just be inclusive and accountable but it must also be equitable and transparent.

“Inclusive may mean we were invited for a conversation but equitable means we all enjoy the fruits of the discussion in timely and equitable measures. Accountable may mean we [are] all represented here but transparent means we have sights of all deliverables, deals and data.

“Understanding the importance of transparent and real-time sharing of data, Malaysia uploads comprehensive data sets daily for anyone to access. We upload individual anonymised line-listed details of every positive case on a daily basis,” said Khairy.

Furthermore, Khairy also raised the silent “parallel pandemic” issue, meaning the deterioration of mental health, especially among young people.

“Lockdowns, movement restrictions, together with unemployment and financial insecurity, have led to a spike in the number of people seeking mental health support across the globe. Malaysia is no exception.

“In conjunction with the Mental Health Day this year, Malaysia launched our Strategic Plan for Mental Health 2020-2025, highlighting inter-sectoral collaboration and crisis preparedness in addressing mental health issues, including suicide and suicidal behaviours, as well as surveillance, for early detection of cases that will allow for prompt monitoring and timely intervention.

“I wish to reiterate the importance of mental health as it inevitably affects physical health, and it is vital for us to share this message to the public to raise awareness. Being part of this region, Malaysia is confident that the enduring cooperation and concerted efforts undertaken by our nations will see us through this crisis together,” he added.


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